[30 August 2013]
On their second album Holy Cop, London’s Mayors of Miyazaki offer up a tight, fun album of post-punk (math-rock division). There isn’t anything here that fans of post-punk haven’t heard before, but the trio clearly know their way around the style. Guitarist Gareth Thomas offers up a buffet of heavy, chugging riffs, complex extended guitar leads, and the occasional melodic hook while drummer Tom Cook often finds the perfect complementary beat and just as frequently outright doubles the guitar rhythm. Meanwhile, bassist Claire Thomas mostly holds down the low end with simpler bass parts as she and Gareth shout their way through their lyrics.
Album opener “Souvenir” encapsulates most of what Mayors of Miyazaki do in a brisk three minutes. A chiming guitar chord kicks things off and is quickly joined by the bass and drums before jumping off into an At the Drive-In-style angular guitar riff. The Thomas siblings trade off shouted vocal lines while the bass and drums lock into more melodic backing music. As soon as the lyrics stop, though, the band is straight back into the thrashing riffs. Holy Cop doesn’t really pack in too many twists and turns once that first track is over. The songs are decent throughout, but not exceptional. Certain tracks like “Tongues” and “Dry Palm” are more centered on a melody than a guitar riff or lead, and those are the tracks that inevitably take advantage of Claire’s surprisingly strong singing voice. With all the shouted vocals, you’d expect both Thomases to be middling singers at best, which is definitely true of Gareth. But Claire can sound genuinely pretty when she wants to, which gives Mayors of Miyazaki the ability to go more melodic whenever they feel like it. They don’t employ that much on this album, but it might be something to think about for future material. If they slide into a sweet spot somewhere between the catchiness of Bloc Party and the riffage of Russian Circles, they may find a bigger audience.